Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Twice bitten but not too shy

Last night, Jill and I went to Robots and, I must say, that was a good movie. But it's not the most memorable part of the evening for me. No no. The most memorable part of the evening was the trailer for Episode III. I honestly held my breath through the whole thing. After it was done, I was wishing that it was Wednesday (actually Thursday) at 12:01 AM so my soon-to-be brother-in-law Chris and I could be at the midnight screening.

But, at the same time, a sense of foreboding filled me. I mean, I can remember back six or seven years ago when Episode I was coming out. After all, we had been waiting years and years and years and YEARS for the prequels. Myself, I remember watching and rewatching the original Trilogy time after time after time, long enough that I subconsciously memorized all the scripts (I doubt I can recite them now, but you never know). I still remember that fateful Wednesday night, where I preached a sermon using Darth Vader as a metaphor, and then heading to the theater in Birch Run, Michigan, with my friend Michele, anxious to see the new wonder that George Lucas had prepared for us.

And what did I get? A convoluted plot mired in obscure political trickery (I mean, what the heck did the Trade Federation hope to accomplish by blockading Naboo?), disappointing Jedi nonsense (midichlorians? HELLO!), and the bad aftertaste of seeing Anakin Skywalker as a little boy who can't act (at no time should we ever see Darth Vader say, "Yahooo!" I don't care how young he is!). It took me a while, but I finally realized that Episode I was something of a disappointment.

When Episode II came out, I was a little hesitant. Not too much. After all, Anakin wouldn't be played by that snotty kid (whose name I forget and I'd prefer to remain ignorant, thank you very much). We had the promise of the Clone Wars. And so, I entered the theater, hoping that the sour disappointment of Episode I would be erased.

Lucas got it better, but he didn't get it right. Anakin and Padme were stiff and wooden. Based on what I've seen of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman in other movies, that wasn't their fault. Perhaps if Lucas had spent more time in film school learning how to direct humans and not so much time drawing droids in the margins of his notes, things would have been better. Plus, you had the really, really, really bad romance between Padme and Anakin. I'm sorry, Lucas should be banned from writing love scenes for life. He just can't do it.

At the same time, though, while Episode II was not everything it could be, it was more than what Episode I was. Lucas spent more time in action sequences, which is where his flashy FX can really shine. And, of crouse, there's Yoda throwing down with Count Dooku. Best surprise of the whole movie.

So here we are. The saga is almost complete. In about 36 hours, we'll finally see the end of the Clone Wars, the creation of Darth Vader, and, I'm told, the birth of Luke and Leia. I should be more excited, but I'm not. Even though the trailer for Episode III was very flashy and made me hold my breath, so did the trailers for I and II. I'm worried that when I leave the theater on Thursday morning at 3 AM, I'll be disappointed and grouchy because Lucas got it wrong again.

But then, when you have to look forward to Palpatine and Yoda throwing down in the Senate Chamber, maybe everything will be all right.

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